Bulldogs Lose Recruit as Georgia Demands He Prove Immigration Status

Georgia is the second state, after South Carolina, to enact a ban on undocumented students at public colleges.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 26, 2012

When Chester Brown learned he had been recruited to University Of Georgia’s football team he was so excited that he got the commitment date tattooed on his left forearm. That tattoo will now also serve as constant reminder of the date the Samoan-born offensive lineman had to decommit himself because he couldn’t prove his immigration status in the United States.

An anti-immigrant measure passed by the state Board of Regents in 2010 requires "the verification of a student’s lawful presence in the United States" in order to enroll in any of the state’ public universities. Brown’s family is unable to produce any documentation, according to ESPN’s college football blog.

And it gets more complicated because most people didn’t know Brown was undocumented and he suffered humiliation when he decommitted. More details from ESPN:

Brown, who attends the Bradwell Institute in Hinesville, Ga., initially cited "personal reasons" for decommitting, saying that he didn’t want "anything bad to happen to me, anything bad to happen to my family and most of all I don’t want anything bad to happen to Georgia."

But Brown had no choice, said a family spokesperson, who added that the decision left him heartbroken after developing relationships with Georgia recruits, coaches and members of the team. He had been talking up the Bulldogs to other would-be Georgia commitments for the Class of 2012 for months.

"It has been rough on Chester," the Brown family spokesperson said Tuesday night. "He went to school today and he just got bashed from all of these teachers calling him dumb and stupid for decommitting. He came home and just cried. And they don’t know the situation."

Brown’s family emigrated from Samoa in the mid-1990s and lived in Long Beach, Calif., upon arriving in the United States. "They moved to Hinesville in 2004, attempting to escape the crime and gang activity that was prevalent in their community," ESPN reports.

"As far as inside the state of Georgia, there is no way. It is just going to run into a dead end. There is nothing else we can do," a family spokesperson told ESPN about Brown’s college options. "What I am hearing, and (what) coach Ball told Chester today, was, ‘Get ready, because big-name colleges are coming after you. You will see what I am talking about.’ "

Georgia is the second state, after South Carolina, to enact a ban on undocumented students at public colleges.